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Supporting Men's Wellbeing in the Hepburn Shire

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Men’s Shed history – Australian Initiative

There’s nothing new about men gathering together in their own space to talk, share skills, swap ideas, solve problems or just discuss life in general – it’s been happening since the beginning of time. There’s nothing new either about men spending time in their backyard shed – an acknowledged Aussie pastime.

What is new is that men, particularly retired men, are combining these two activities in a communal space simply called a Men’s Shed.

What is also new is how strongly men have embraced this new identity – being a member of a Men’s Shed.

Men’s Sheds, as such, are a peculiarly Australian phenomenon. In the past decade a wide range of community-based Men’s Sheds has sprung up - each with its own unique identity and purpose. Activities within Sheds are many and various: woodwork, metal work, restoration of old cars etc.

The membership is diverse too. Men from all backgrounds, ethnic and social mixes can enjoy a Men’s Shed, bringing their unique cultural characteristics to enliven the activities.

The common theme in all Sheds is about men feeling useful and contributing again to their communities, learning or sharing their skills, making friends, networking and availing themselves of health information programmes and opportunities.

Communities are keen to provide activity, identity and meaning for vast numbers of older, unemployed, job-redundant, ‘downsized’, isolated, depressed and happily retired, active, creative, enthusiastic men. Men’s Sheds are fast being recognized as vital, viable places to fulfil these needs and provide relaxed, happy creative spaces for men to enjoy.

How Daylesford Men’s Shed started

Daylesford Men’s Shed had its genesis in the Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre (DNC),as the DNC’s education program identified the difficulties in getting large sections of the male population to engage in education programs. In 2007, Andrew Azzopardi was researching the effectiveness of Men’s sheds (for his teaching qualification). He met with the Daylesford Neighborhood Centre and was subsequently appointed as a facilitator to determine if a Men’s Shed was wanted and if so to get it operational.

Andrew drew together a nucleus of men who provided the impetus to get the shed of the ground. Temporary premises were made available in the “poultry shed” at Victoria Park Daylesford, with weekly meetings occurring on Thursdays (9.30 am to approx 3.00 pm).

The permanent Victoria Park Site was confirmed and work was started in January 2011. The construction contract was awarded to Apex Sheds (Ballarat) and the earthworks were scheduled for late January with construction to commence shortly after. Costs for Stage 1 were anticipated to be in the vicinity of $75000. Stage 2 (shed 3 and external works) were completed later when sufficient funds were raised (approx $35000).

More about our inception.... Courtesy of Colin Dunlop....

10 October 2007

By Andrew Azzopardi - member & former Facilitator

25 October

Article in Daylesford Advocate newspaper calling for interested men to become part of a proposed “Men’s Shed” project, to attend a meeting and BBQ at Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre (DNC) on Thursday 25 October.

8 November

1st meeting held at Old Courthouse on Camp St, with Kathleen Brannigan (Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre - DNC), Brian Dunn (Hepburn Shire Council - HSC), Rob Watson (Hepburn Health Service - HHS), Don Killeen, Colin Dunlop & Andrew Azzopardi, (3 residents of Wheatsheaf). There was a BBQ and general discussion around the needs of men, for a meeting place to undertake practical projects and to socialise. It was agreed to meet again soon to plan for a shed development proposed to be next to the existing toilets onsite.

6 December

2nd meeting at Old Courthouse. Andrew Azzopardi was an apology. I am unsure who else was present at this meeting.

11 January 2008

3rd meeting at Old Courthouse, with Kathleen Brannigan (DNC), Brian Dunn (Hep Shire), Rob Watson (Hep Health Service), John Quinlan Co-ordinator of Creswick & Kyneton Men’s Shed, Don Killeen, Colin Dunlop & Andrew Azzopardi. Richard Bevan from Hepburn and Ken Oakes from Musk. Further discussions to plan for shed, activities & funding.

11 February

5th meeting at Walsh’s Daylesford Hotel. Present were – Richard Bevan, Don Killeen, Colin Dunlop & others. I am unsure who else was present. Social meal to further discuss how we develop at DNC.

4 March

6th meeting held at Cantilons Rd in Musk – home of Ken Oakes. Present were – Ken Oakes, Richard Bevan, some other mates of Ken Oakes and Andrew Azzopardi. BBQ social to discuss men’s group.

4 June 2008

7th meeting held at Cantilons Rd in Musk – home of Ken Oakes. Present were – Ken Oakes, Richard Bevan, some other mates of Ken Oakes and Andrew Azzopardi. BBQ social to discuss men’s group.

27 June

8th meeting at Old Courthouse, with Kathleen Brannigan (DNC). Andrew Azzopardi & others. Not sure who else was in attendance.

30 August

9th meeting at old Police Quarters at Old Courthouse, with Kathleen Brannigan (DNC), not sure who else was in attendance as I was unavailable.

19 September

Andrew Azzopardi met with Dan Harris, President of Daylesford Agricultural Society, who has kindly offered use of the ‘Chook Shed’ poultry pavilion at Victoria Park for our Men’s Shed use free of charge.

26 September

Andrew Azzopardi met with Kathleen Brannigan at DNC to discuss starting the Daylesford Men’s Shed at ‘Chook Shed’ at Victoria Park. We discussed starting with a bus trip to look at 3 different sheds and their activities.

29 September 2008

10th meeting with lunch at old Police Quarters above DNC. Kathleen Brannigan, Brian Dunn, Colin Dunlop, Don Killeen and Andrew Azzopardi in attendance. We discussed upcoming bus trip on Thursday 2 October, to look at 3 Men’s Sheds in Creswick, Ballarat & Kyneton. Colin raised issues of sources of funding. He also suggested first project for the men to construct a mobile step/platform for Community Bus. It was agreed to carry this out. Afterwards Kathleen, Brian, Colin and I went to ‘Chook Shed’ at Victoria Park, to have a look around to plan for requirements.

Thursday 2 October 2008

11th meeting with Don Killeen and Colin Dunlop to have another look at ‘Chook Shed’ at Victoria Park, Daylesford. Colin & I also went to see Brian Bose, Manager of Jubilee Lake Rd Old Sawmill, and met with Greg (Truckie) & Nigel (Manager). We discussed ideas for supply of Pine from logs to be cut for Men’s Shed as well as timber for other projects. It was agreed to carry this out. Colin Dunlop met with Don Killeen to determine timber quantities to order for use. Colin Dunlop organised with Hepburn Health to drive the Community Bus on Thursday 2 Oct. He will pick up Don Partington, Don Killeen, Ken Ferguson & myself in his car. I contacted Ken Stockfeld of Denver & Ken Oakes of Musk to see if they were interested and left message for Steve Clare of Wheatsheaf.

Thursday 9 October

The 1st official Daylesford Men’s Shed gathering and bus trip to visit 3 other men’s sheds: Creswick Friendship Men’s Shed Ballarat East Community Shed Kyneton Men’s Fellowship Shed The bus trip was organised through Hepburn Health by Rob Watson from Creswick Health Service and was driven by Colin Dunlop. 12 men – Colin Dunlop, Don Killeen, Richard Bevan, Ken Ferguson, Bob Thannhauser, John Staub, Ralph Williams, Don Partington, Dale Bartholomew, Viv Lock, 1 unknown person and Andrew Azzopardi went on the trip.

22 November

1st Official session of Daylesford Men’s Shed at the ‘Chook Shed’, Victoria Park in Daylesford. We met with some of the guys who went on the recent bus trip as well as some new members – 13 in total. We had a look around the park and made some plans for projects in the shed.

27 November

Daylesford Men’s Shed stall at Daylesford Show.

Official Launch of Daylesford Men’s Shed at Victoria Park. Opening by Ian Beggs - President of Victorian Men’s Shed Association. Speeches by Professor Barry Golding and Doctor Annette Brown of University of Ballarat. Geoff Howard - member for Ballarat East, Kathleen Brannigan (DNC), reps from Hep Shire Council, the men, their partners, friends and representatives from other men’s sheds came along to help us celebrate our launch. Later during the launch, Wheatsheaf residents, Klass & Corin Kimstra generously donated the amount of $9000 to Daylesford Men’s Shed for use of start-up tools and equipment.

December 2008 – Late November 2009

Continue meetings at ‘Chook Shed’, Vic Park on Thursdays. These are attended by approx. 12 – 18 members who are provided with a bbq lunch.

Other men who joined the shed over this period were:

Mark Rak, Steve Jordan, Ted Nason, John Smith, Michael Holub, John McHardy.

We still met to develop individual & community projects, as well as providing a social environment for men to meet. During this period, it was discussed whether we could find a proper shed to house our equipment and materials, while we wait and plan for state govt funding. Colin Dunlop and Andrew Azzopardi decided to investigate a number of locations for either an existing shed, shared space or for an entirely new shed to be built.

These sites were: Behind Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre – vacant land up from the old Police station. Daly Street vacant land, opposite Convent Gallery. Old Vicroads house opposite Sunday Market. Daylesford Railway Station works shed. Vacant land next to Daylesford Library.

After discussions at Daylesford Garden Supplies, an approach was made to local businessman, Eddi Comelli. Eventually after looking at a number of sites, the men put a proposal for a move to a factory at East St, Daylesford. This was to be rented from Eddi Comelli. This proposal was accepted by DNC.

Thurs 3 Dec 2009 and into 2010

1st session at 37-39 East St shed in Daylesford.

Preparations for Xmas & New Year as well as new community projects.

Discussion around developing a Men’s Shed Steering Committee to provide a long-term management plan for the Shed. This was to provide an eventual independent Shed from Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre. This group held meetings through 2010 and again looked at various sites for a permanent home. This time on council managed land back at Victoria Park. These were: next to the Tom Ford Pavilion, next to the Table Tennis Centre and close to the Machinery gate. Newer members who joined were Paul Rodgers, Rob Carmen and Paul Thannhauser and Graeme Rattray.

Eventually in May 2010, we were successful with a $50,000 State govt grant to plan for the final home of Daylesford Men’s Shed, built next to the Caravan Park, at Victoria Park, Daylesford. This was designed and finally constructed during 1st half of 2011. Members moved all tools, equipment, machinery and materials into the new shed.

After this period Daylesford Men’s Shed then became an independently operated Men’s Shed.